Slide Shows

Your favorite dumb comedies

Slide show: Last week, we picked the best stupid films to make you laugh -- now it's your turn

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    “Blazing Saddles” (1974)

    How can you have a list of movies that get their magnificent humor from the deep stupidity of its characters and action without naming the ne plus ultra of marvelously brainless wit? The campfire scene alone is the absolute gold standard of Stupid Comedy — what do you think Luke Wilson’s characters was referencing in that “Idiocracy” speech? Every fart scene in every half-assed movie since then has been an homage to the great Mel Brooks, who enshrined dimwit humor with more class and smarts than anyone before or since.


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    “Top Secret” (1984)

    A line from “Top Secret” that always makes me laugh (and occasionally springs to mind at the newsstand): “Klaus is a moron, who knows only what he reads in The New York Post.” The Post cover line Klaus is reading at the time? “Maniac stalks Olivia Newton-John!” So wrong, but it gets me every time. (Sorry, Olivia!)


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    “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” (2004)

    I’m smart and I loved “Anchorman” more than many other movies. “San Diego: It’s Spanish for a whale’s vagina.” And, as much as I enjoy the movies you enjoy, I’m surprised, nay, shocked and appalled at the lack of Mel Brooks and/or Gene Wilder movies in this list.


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    “Skidoo” (1968)

    At the risk of outing my true identity to my friends who might frequent Salon, I have my own OT “Skidoo” story. I attended not only the world premiere in Miami, but also went to the after-party aboard a cruise ship. My ticket and those of my two friends were freebies given to our film professor. At the movie premiere, we mingled in the lobby with some of the “stars” in the film, such as John Phillip Law, Alexandra Hay and Donyale Luna, but Kim Novak was also there, as was the great Louis Nye and George Kirby (I got all of their autographs). At the after-party, we didn’t have tickets, but went anyway and walked up that boarding plank as if we owned the ship. It was a GREAT and lavish party! Long story, but I managed to get Preminger’s autograph, spotted both Harry Nilsson and Austin Pendleton, and lo and behold, came upon a forlorn Tiny Tim sitting by himself in the foyer to the dining room. Got his autograph and tried to cheer him up to no avail. He was a very sweet man, however; in town to perform in a Beach hotel. I still have my program with the autographs, but what we didn’t dare do at the time was take pictures. I really regret not sneaking in my small Brownie camera, but it simply was not the thing to do!

    And, oh yeah, “Skidoo” remains one hell of a stupid and bad film.


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    “Shakes the Clown” (1991)

    I can’t believe you left out Bobcat Goldthwait’s “Shakes the Clown.” This tale of an alcoholic clown is the epitome of stupid/smart and completely tasteless (so offensive it was boycotted by the clowns association). This spawned a new category of movies for me (which includes “Austin Powers”); the first time I saw it, I thought it was the stupidest thing I had ever seen, but by the third viewing I had come around to considering it genius (with classic, completely offensive lines, the best of which may be by LaWanda Page [Aunt Esther from "Sanford & Son"], which aren’t fit for decent society).

    The “all-star” cast features Robin Williams as a mime teacher, Adam Sandler, Florence Henderson (as Shakes’ one-night stand in a priceless opening sequence), Julie Brown (“Cause I’m a Blonde,” not Downtown), Kathy Griffin, Paul Dooley, Tim Kazurinsky and Tom Kenny (the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants) as Shakes’ nemesis.



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    “Johnny Dangerously” (1984)

    1984, Michael Keaton et al. Definitely funnier than it should have been. The difference between a movie like this and “The Jerk” is the difference between Wile E. Coyote before he looks down and sees he’s run off the cliff, and Wile E. Coyote after.


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    “South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut” (1999)

    The “South Park” movie, “Bigger, Longer & Uncut,” was way funnier and brainier than “Team America,” which was just a rehash of the same old “South Park” jokes (Kim Jong Il, the Montage song, etc.).

    Al Dante

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    “Booty Call” (1997)

    I can’t help thinking that if it had been made with a white cast it would have gotten moderate to high praise as a hipster screwball indie comedy (which is exactly what it is), but instead it got put into the lowbrow-”black”-movie bucket. It’s freaking hilarious, however you want to label it.


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    “Jackass Number Two” (2006)

    I nominate “Jackass II” because it forces you to look deep within yourself as you try to figure out why you keep watching one lame and disgusting stunt after another. With the exception of the inventiveness of some of the stunts, nothing in this movie is remotely intelligent, but you can’t look away, may even watch it again. Does the mind crave grossness after so much effort, a sort of mental slumming, is it a Stooges thing? Who knows …